Voting days could become paid holiday for Austin City workers under council plan

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AUSTIN (KXAN) — Election days could become paid holiday for Austin City employees under plans for a “Let Texas Vote Day” proposed by the city council.

The city manager will present the options and analysis no later than Jan. 21. If the bill passes, the holiday will go into effect in Nov. 2020.

The 2018 Texas Civic Health Index showed one in five Texans had work schedule conflicts or were too busy to vote in the 2016 elections. The goal of the holiday is to encourage voting and civic engagement.

Employees would receive a maximum of four hours of administrative leave to vote in federal, state and local elections. This may also be used in early voting periods.

Regular, special and run-off elections would also be included in the administrative leave.

This is not the first time the city has made changes to make voting more accessible.

In 2012, 10 single-member Council districts were established and municipal elections were held in November instead of May. This has increased Austin’s voter turnout by 400%.

Also, in 2018 Cap Metro Board of Directors started providing free rides on public transit every election day in November.

This year’s early voting starts Monday, and election day will be Nov. 5.

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